A standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions kept oil churning at record highs, as prices closed above $70 US a barrel for the second straight day Tuesday. Worries that exports from the world's fourth- largest producer could be disrupted has become a fixation for crude markets, sending prices up more than $10 US a barrel in the last month.
Across the country, gasoline prices rose an average of 3.8 cents a litre last week to $107.9, according to a weekly survey by M.J. Ervin.
Oil prices, meanwhile, bumped another 95 cents a barrel higher in New York trading to close at $71.35.
Along with Iran, crude's steady march is being buoyed by production outages in Nigeria. Attacks against the oil industry there are keeping at least 500,000 barrels a day out of the market, or a fifth of the country's output.
Based on the success of upgrading uranium for use in power generation, Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared his country a nuclear power last week.
Ahmadinejad's unapologetic nuclear ambitions are sitting poorly with many in the international community. When it comes to declawing Iran's nuclear program, U.S. President George Bush said Tuesday that diplomacy remains the preferred route, but "all options are on the table." (source)